Today, President Obama is expected to designate three new National Monuments: Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Northern California, Waco Mammoth National Monument in Texas, and Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada. Using the Antiquities Act, Obama will protect these special places after years of discussion with local communities and stakeholders. National Monument designations are protective but offer flexible management plans, which protect recreational resources and bolster the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy.
The announcement of the new monuments is an enormous win for the human-powered outdoor recreation community, which is growing by the year without commensurate increase in protected land to climb, bike, ski, paddle, and camp. Berryessa Snow Mountain in particular has significant recreation resources, including paddling on Cache Creek’s whitewater and an extensive trail system. Situated close to Sacramento, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa, the region helps to connect urban populations to recreation opportunities. According to the Department of the Interior, the National Monument is expected to bring an influx of revenue to the area in the next five years, up to $26 million in new economic activity and half a million in tax revenue.
Waco Mammoth National Monument in Texas is situated on over 100 acres of parkland along the Bosque River. This National Monument protects a historical site where well-preserved fossils of Columbian Mammoths and other Ice Age animals were discovered in the late 1970’s. Basin and Range National Monument is located in one of the most remote and undeveloped areas in Nevada. Two hours from Las Vegas, Basin and Range has been threatened by numerous development projects over the last decades and the National Monument will protect the area’s cultural, historical, ecological, and recreational resources, including hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. The site is also home to an adjacent area of private land with a landscape sculpture called City. Numerous American art institutes have spoken out in favor of the National Monument as a way to protect the area surrounded the artwork.
For over 100 years, the Antiquities Act has enabled presidents on both sides of the aisle to give increased protection to special places on our public lands. Early National Monuments included the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and the Tetons. Including these 3 designations, President Obama will have used the Antiquities Act to protect 19 important landscapes over 260 million acres of land and water.